Monthly Archives: April 2010

Boardgame Thoughts

This post is not really a review of any boardgames, just some thoughts that boardgames inspired. I don’t really know that much about boardgames to be competent to give any of them a good and proper review although some thoughts about the games is possible. But that said, this post is not a review of boardgames.

I like boardgames that has multiple paths to victory, i.e. there are many ways to win, not only one scripted way only. In a way, I think this is how I prefer to view life too. There are many ways to live life, not just one way. I feel lucky to have close friends that have very differing points of view (these groups of friends do not know each other… they may have seen them perhaps during my wedding or during the house-warming but they do not mix).

One group of friends are really money minded. They are really passionate about accumulating as much wealth as possible, doing business and all and they are rather successful. They buy land for development, they buy fast cars (e.g. one guys is contemplating the Ferrari 430 or something), they go out to socialise to enlarge their network, when they go overseas, they go to “nice” places, etc. In short, their whole being is dedicated to making money and spending them on properties and fast cars. Seldom do I hear them talking about their family (except for bad-mouthing their wife) or other hobbies or passion, not to mention such things as love for the environment or protection of animals. They will love the environment and protect animals only if these activities profits them. This is one bunch of friends I have.

On the other hand, I have friends who are idealistic, loves art and culture and sacrifice material comfort for the arts, for the environment, for other human beings. They admire music, or movies, or painting, or stage shows etc. and can converse competently and interestingly about them. They go around and saw the world, travel on budget and go to places that bruises their bodies, just so they can experience the world. And they are really passionate people.

Then of course, there are a bunch of friends who let event lead them. They do what they do everyday, enjoy their life if they can, put up with the bosses, may do bad things if a chance is presented to them (e.g. commit adultery or steal money), but they are really not bad people per se. They are just being influenced by events, so when a good event present themselves, they ride on them and if there are bad events, they go down with them. They manage to live by, even can afford some nice things like a nice holiday or house, but they are that, i.e. they do not have something fixed in their mind that they are passionate about. They just live life as presented to them.

But all of them are okay, they live the life they want and still win. There are multiple paths to victory and no one path is the TRUE path, i guess. And just like in games, perhaps there are victory points and each one will have to choose their path and earn their own victory points, those points that matters to them, those points that they can relate to. Forcing one’s victory points condition on another person that cannot relate to it is just not right.

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Inconsistencies

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”

The above quote is probably one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s most popular. However, what got me hooked when I started reading him in my teenage years was this, “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” How true this you would think and how much courage and willpower this inspires when it is understood. Emerson was the first author to inspire me in a huge way, and then followed by Stephen R. Covey. But those are teenage days when one tries to find his identity.

What inspire me most nowadays are the stories of people’s exploits, how they live the life that they want and get the most of their short time on earth. Just like Hajime in SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN, one of Haruki Murakami’s darkest novels. It is inspiring to read about Hajime’s life and one would think what a life he had lived, warts and all. Compared to the Siberian farmers who always dreamed of what lies West of the Sun or Shimamoto’s curiosity of what lies South of the Border, one needs to breakout sometimes, explore the world, and find their own answers. Clocking in day in day out in a rat job cannot be something inspiring, not to mention fun to do. So what is this little thing that you are looking for all your life? When you are old, what is this little story that you can tell?

At quite a young age, I always seem to imagine my own funeral, which was at once scary (not to mention a huge taboo!) but also quite fun to do. It just struck me later that I am not the only one and many people do that too, and I was amazed when I read that Gustav Mahler, the greatest symphonic composer in the history of mankind, in my humble and biased opinion, did the same thing too. One would imagine who will come, will that ex-lover come? will that hated enemy come? Which friend will come and which friend will just give an excuse not to come? What will they say? Will they cry? What kind of life would they say I have lived. It is something like Kanji Watanabe’s funeral in Akira Kurosawa’s IKIRU. What a great film that is!

Life is a series of existential choices, or so people like Jean Paul Sartre will say. Condemned to be free they say. But is this really so? In my opinion, yes a person can choose whatever he or she wants to do but must live with the consequences of their actions. That’s why Sartre said we are “condemned”. Sometimes, the consequence of one’s action can be very serious and can hurt people. Like Hajime’s story, he didn’t realize that his action can hurt someone so deep they can never recover. Some actions will lead to death itself. In this context, are we really free? No. We are bound by certain responsibilities towards people. Towards ourselves. Even towards Mankind and the world. It is never as simple as do what you want and ignore the consequences of one’s actions.

Well, I don’t know why I am ranting but just something in my mind. It’s good to blog it out. Now, go get a life.

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